|Archive available at http://www.ChicagoCoinClub.org/|
|Volume 63 No. 9||September 2017|
The 1184th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago. President Richard Lipman called the meeting to order at 6:45 PM with attendance of 25 members and 5 guests: Nicolas Bellman, Mabel Ann Wright, Carol Taylor, O.J. Methling Jr., Curtis Personett, and Robert Romeo.
The Minutes of the July 12th meeting as published in the Chatter were approved. The Treasurer reported July revenue of $30.00, expenses $194.40, and total assets $25,928.47. A motion was passed approving the report.
Secretary’s Report and Announcements:
President Lipman gave a positive report on the recent ANA Convention in Denver. He polled the members on their feeling of the ANA sponsoring one day seminars around the country and many agreed. Other reports included:
Second V.P. Marc Stackler introduced featured speaker Dave Crooks who gave a presentation The Shipwreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha and its Coinage. Following questions and answers, Marc presented Dave with an ANA Educational Certificate and engraved Club medal. Dale Lukanich, the July speaker, was also presented with his engraved medal that was delayed in shipping.
Second V.P. John Riley showed copies of Indian Cents and Buffalo Nickels found at a local flea market. Then he announced the evening’s exhibitors. MARK WIECLAW: convention handouts from the ANA Denver Convention, items from the Chester Krause collection, Kennedy half dollars issued by John and Nancy Wilson, and a denarius of Caracalla, 211 AD. DEVEN KANE: ruble coins of Russian Tsars Peter II Alexeyevich and Nicholas II, and a gold coin of German Kaiser Frederick III. BILL BIERLY: U.S. currency displaying alterations to “In God We Trust” motto. RICHARD LIPMAN: $2 Federal Reserve Note with serial number 20172017, trench art, and banknotes from Hong Kong and Fiji. LYLE DALY: Celtic coin, Byzantine coins, and medal of Eli Lilly. DALE LUKANICH: ancient roman coins of Philip I and Philip II, 249 AD. ROBERT FEILER: two silver shipwreck coins. MELISSA GUMM: Ferris Wheel medal from Chicago’s Columbian Exposition, 2017 Canadian commemorative coin, and ANA medal honoring 50 years in Colorado Springs. DAVID GUMM: three U.S. Large Cents. ANDREW MICHYETA: shipwreck coin. STEPHEN HUBER: book 1792: Birth of a Nation’s Coinage. PAUL HYBERT: two 1791 Sierra Leone dollar coins.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:08 PM.
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary
a presentation by Dave Crooks,
to our August 9, 2017 meeting.
Dave started the presentation with a bit of personal background, telling us how he took a trip to Key West as a reward after graduating from law school. While sitting at a bar, he started talking with the man next to him, and mentioned that he had some diving experience. That man was Mel Fisher, and so Dave was on his way to becoming Vice President of Treasure Salvors, Inc from 1974 to 1975.
Mel Fisher long searched for the treasure ships that sank during a hurricane on September 6, 1622, making this one of three major treasure fleets that sank near Florida. Two of the ten ships had carried treasure, with about 90% in the Nuestra Senora de Atocha and 10% in the Santa Margarita, and both treasure ships sank. About half of the treasure on the Margarita was salvaged before another hurricane covered all traces of the ships. The search was long and demanding but Mel, known for his “Today’s the day!” attitude, kept at it.
The galleons of that era were designed for heavy transport, not for speed and not for maneuverability. These ships were tall in the bow and in the stern. After hitting a reef and losing part of her bottom, the Atocha remained afloat long enough to leave a trail of silver bars and coins before sinking. The stern castle, where the more valuable cargo was kept, had split off and has not been found yet. That is why minimal gold has been recovered from the wreck, just mostly silver.
The Atocha was found about 30 miles west of Key West, under 20-40 feet of water and 10-20 feet of sand. The dive season is only June to September, due to waves and poor visibility at other times, and that season can be shortened by a nearby tropical storm or hurricane. So, how do you find a shipwreck?
Research, research, and more research! The Spanish kept meticulous records, and made five copies of each ship’s cargo. The weight and serial number of each treasure bar was recorded, as well as the serial numbers for cannons and anchors! The records also contain the reports of wreck survivors and salvage attempts. The records still exist in the Archives of the Indies in Seville, Spain, but the records have recently been closed to treasure hunters at the insistence of archaeologists. But 50 years ago, Mel Fisher sponsored a researcher to search the archives. As an example of the benefits of original research, Dave mentioned the conventional wisdom that placed the Atocha wreck about six miles southeast of Matecumbe; now there are two keys with that name, Upper and Lower Matecumbe, but a chart from early 1600s shows the entire keys with that name.
The records of the cargo greatly aids in identifying a wreck, or wrecks, from a few recovered metal artifacts. Dave did not cover the subtle points of salvage law, such as the comingled treasure from multiple ships that are claimed by separate salvors. But he did mention many details, as well as the Supreme Court decision that denied Florida its claim for 25% of the recovered Atocha treasure – compare that to the Spanish monarch who claimed only 20% of all gold and silver mined in the New World! The presence of a mark stamped on the bars indicated that the bar was cast from bullion that had had the 20% royal tax paid.
Once you know approximately where to look, you need some equipment to search the area. Underwater metal detectors and sonar were the classic tools. You are looking for something odd or unusual – once you find such an area, you have to dive down and have a look. After more than 300 years in warm ocean water, all wood has been eaten away and metal objects can be covered in coral, plant life, or encrustation. Moving sandbars could hide or reveal an object for years at a time.
The crews used right angle tubes to deflect downward the prop wash from a large tug boat that needed 3 to 5 anchors to maintain a steady location. With the column of clear water pushing away the loose sand, a diver could watch as the hole in the sandy seabed became larger. Typically, 30 minutes of that treatment yielded a hole that was 20 feet deep and 75 feet across, with heavy objects in the bottom of the hole. In the shallow oceans, items were exposed to much more abrasion than were items in very deep waters, such as for the Central America.
Dave mentioned the different legal issues between working on military civilian wrecks. Military wrecks are always owned by the nation of origin, so any salvage attempts need permission of that nation. Most Spanish treasure was shipped on private vessels, but most wrecks occurred in shallow coastal waters controlled by the nearby country. Salvaging such wrecks is a highly regulated matter.
Although the divers saw sharks, the biggest dangers were aging salvage vessels, poorly maintained diving equipment, and inexperienced divers. Living on a rusty hulk with no air conditioning, for a week at a time with the same smelly people was not very exciting. There were no showers, but you could take a bath in the ocean. You would starve if you did not like fresh fish, and divers and crew were not hired for their cooking skills. You worked all day, might not be paid in timely manner, might not find anything of value, and if you did find treasure, you had a long wait until the spoils were split. You had to be okay with a combination of adventure and boredom.
$400,000,000 was the 1985 valuation of all treasue recovered from the Atocha. That is worth $909,000,000 in 2017 dollars. The largest part was 45 tons of silver bars (90 pounds each, on average), with more than 185,000 silver cobs (rough shaped, hand hammered silver coins of 8 reales), and more than one thousand raw or rough cut emeralds (some over 100 carats) also present. There were only 105 gold coins found (all from Spanish mints), along with more than one thousand pieces of gold and silver jewelry.
The silver coins are rough looking in shape, and they seldom have most of the design present, because the emphasis was on getting the weight and fineness correct. Some dies were used until nothing of the design remained. After showing a picture of typical 8 reales cob coin, Dave took us through the different design elements. The obverse has the crowned great shield of the House of Hapsburg, and Dave pointed out the constituent parts of it. The mint mark, assayer initial(s), and denomination flank the shield, and the legend surrounds it all: starting with the king’s name, and then “By the Grace of God, of Spain”. The reverse is separated in quarters by a central cross, with a Lion or Castle (for León and Castilla) in each quadrant. Surrounding it is a continuation of the obverse’s legend, “and the Indies, King” followed by the date. Only 40 of the recovered 186,000 cobs had four digits in the date. Silver coins were made in denominations of 8, 4, and 2 reales, 1 reale, ½ reale, and ¼ reale.
The grading of cob coins is subjective and uses a numeric grading scale, but here Grade 1 means Excellent, 2 means Very Fine, 3 means Fine, 4 means Fair, and 5 means Poor. After warning us to beware of potential upgrading for Atocha coins, Dave showed us typical coins for each grade and mentioned pricing. A Grade 1 coin can cost $2,000 or more, but double that price if it has a date. Grade 2 costs about $1,500, while Grade 3, with some of the Lion and Castle design visible, costs about $1,000. Grade 4 costs about $500, and here some of the cross on the reverse could be identified, while the Lion and Castle could not. Grade 5 is even worse, and the shown example was mounted in a bezel for jewelry – the term in the industry is “wrapped.”
With more than 30 books on Atocha out there, information (and misinformation) is available. These coins are being faked; the easily spotted ones are underweight and also have a tinny sound when dropped. Some copies are made from salvaged silver bars, so it is important to work with an experienced dealer – Dave put in a plug for Sedwick in Winter Park, Florida. Salvaged Atocha coins have a unique ID number on the edge, but you will need 100X magnification to see it. Original certificates for Atocha coins are from Treasure Salvors, Inc., but recent certificates are being issued by a Salvors, Inc., for bezels.
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, Florida holds some of the treasure and tells the story to the public. Some salvage efforts are still active, and do not welcome unexpected visitors. If you want adventure, have a drink in a Key West bar.
We are saddened to report that past TAMS President Charles J. Ricard passed away on August 14, 2017 at the age of 87. Charles was a longtime treasurer of TAMS and served as president from 1992 to 1994. He received the TAMS Medal of Merit in 1987 for his service as treasurer from 1972 to 1986. His son and TAMS member, Marc Ricard, and his daughter Linnea Brown survive him. Marc reports that his father was a bank auditor, writer, teacher, numismatist, and scholar, who devoted his life to his three passions: his family, his profession, and his numismatic endeavors.
Charles J. Richard received the ANA Farran Zerbe Award in 2003 on behalf of his family’s 100-year involvement with the ANA. His great-grandfather, John C. Lighthouse, began building an impressive collection of American coins and paper money in 1860 and joined the ANA in 1903. He moved to San Francisco in 1905 and had removed his collection from storage in 1906 to share it with Farran Zerbe. That decision saved his collection from the destruction of the 1906 earthquake. Charles N. Ricard, grandson of Lighthouse and uncle of Charles J., inherited the collecting bug and was one of the founding members of TAMS. Uncle Charles started his nephew’s interest in numismatics with the gift of an 1880 silver dollar following hand surgery when he was eight years old.
The younger Charles attended meetings of the Rochester Numismatic Association as a guest because of his youth and was elected a junior member when he turned 18. John Jay Pittman and George J. Bauer were his mentors as he developed his collecting interests. He became their youngest president in 1960. He joined the ANA in 1952. With a background in banking, he chaired the ANA Audit Committee and was member of numerous committees. He applied to the Chicago Coin Club at the December 12, 1962 meeting and was accepted as member number 766 at the January 9, 1963 meeting.
Besides his service to TAMS, Charles was president of the Chicago Coin Club, president of the ANA’s 1891 Club, treasurer of the 1956 ANA convention in Chicago, and Honorary General Chairman of the 2011 World’s Fair of Money. He was also the author of several articles in the TAMS Journal and The Numismatist. In addition to the Farran Zerbe Award, he received the ANA Glenn Smedly Memorial Award, an ANA Medal of Merit, ANA Lifetime Achievement Award, and an ANA Presidential Award. Peter Smith’s Numismatic Biography notes that he served on the US Assay Commission in 1965, and received the Numismatic News Numismatic Ambassador Award in 1987.
With all the honors he received as a numismatist, perhaps the highest honor was bestowed by his son Marc when he remembered Charles as a loving and faithful husband, father, and friend, but most of all, a good man.
As reported by TAMS, Robert Leonard, and Carl Wolf
by club members
Brett Irick reported from before the ANA:
I attended the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association Convention in Boucherville, Quebec last week. Boucherville is a southeastern suburb of Montréal. It was an amazing experience since the host area are Francophones (French first language) and many of the attendees are Anglophones (English first language). Much "franglais" was spoken. Fortunately, my fair french allowed me to navigate menus, use public transportation, and other basics that you do not normally think about. And, one night, I received a compliment for ordering my dinner, in french, with the correct local accent!
During the Convention, I received an RCNA Presidential Award and a second place exhibit award for a display of Fremont, Ohio Civil War Store Cards. I also was re-elected as an RCNA Director and continue as their Club Services chair. The exhibit field had several french language entries. I hope to see you in Denver in a few days.
Paul Hybert reported on the ANA:
My trip to Denver started with a bad omen. Having arrived at Union Station well before my train’s departure, I went across the street to a fancy burger place. After placing my order, I pulled out some cash – only to hear that they do not accept that anymore! Had to reach around in my luggage for a credit card! In spite of this bad start, dealers on the bourse were happy to accept my cash, as were the diners and stores in Denver.
Although an announcement in the E-Sylum had described the Collector Exhibit Area as “conveniently located between the Treasury Department booth and Allen Berman’s booth,” an equally valid description would have been “all the way in back, up against the far wall.” Even with 20 more cases used than in Anaheim last year, the total case count still was under 200. For comparison, about 300 cases were used in 2015, when ANA lasted met in Rosemont. Some fellow club members brought exhibits from Chicago, and a Jeff Rosinia exhibit won the People’s Choice award, again.
The Money Talks presentations (formerly known as the Numismatic Theater) provided two days of talks on a range of topics, but that was one fewer day than in past years. I attended a number of them, and (sad to say) I nodded off during one where I knew the presenters! (Sorry, but the chair was comfortable, and the room was dark – too bad I was in the front row.) My favorite was David Finkelstein’s presentation on who received the first dollar coins disbursed by the US mint. This continued his use of early mint ledgers tracking the bullion and coins during mint operations, and he explained how some important early records made their way to the Pennsylvania Historical Society (instead of the Mint or National Archives) – there is more information in these newly rediscovered records, so look for articles in the numismatic press.
I bought a number of coins that fit into an exhibit I am forming for ANA 2018 in Philadelphia. I hope to see many fellow exhibitors there!
|CSNS Convention||Chicago Coin Company|
|PCDA Convention||Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.|
Items shown at our August 9, 2017 meeting,
reported by John Riley.
Before introducing the evening’s exhibits, John showed examples of common date but counterfeit Indian Cents and a Buffalo nickel grading XF/AU. These were found at an area flea market – beware! The 5-cent piece was an obvious fake (a 1919 dated Buffalo nickel incorrectly set on a “mound” which is found only on the initial 1913 issue). The Indian cents were more problematic to immediately identify as fakes – the workmanship is very good.
August 16, 2017
The Chicago Coin Club Board met August 16, 2017 at Connie’s Pizza, 2373 S. Archer Ave., Chicago. President Richard Lipman called the meeting to order at 6 PM with the following members present: Bill Burd, Paul Hybert, Marc Stackler, Mark Wieclaw, Steve Zitowsky, Elliott Krieter, Melissa Gumm, Dale Lukanich, Jeff Rosinia and Carl Wolf. Not in attendance: John Riley and Steve Ambos.
100th Anniversary Committee Report by Mark Wieclaw:
Creating a Club Hall of Fame:
Board members attending the Denver ANA Convention spoke highly of different clubs wearing unique apparel to identify them. Carl Wolf will email a large apparel catalog to Jeff Rosinia, Mark Wieclaw, and Steve Zitowsky; they will report back to the Board.
Treasurer Steve Zitowsky reported the need to become more electronic with our banking, which would include receiving dues, photo check deposits, receiving payment for merchandise orders, receiving money for advertising, etc. Since the current bank is not up-to-date on electronic transactions, the Board passed a motion authorizing the Treasurer to change banks. President Lipman appointed Paul Hybert, Elliott Krieter, Marc Stackler, and Carl Wolf to assist the Treasurer with the details.
Carl Wolf brought up the subject of printed or electronic newsletter. Samples from the International Primitive Money Society were shown. The IPMS mails the black-and-white newsletter, and to encourage members to switch to electronic format a color version of the identical newsletter is emailed. This led to a discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of different formats. Newsletter editor Paul Hybert was asked to include all Board members on the club’s current electronic newsletter so they can be better educated on the current format.
The Illinois Numismatic Association’s Coin and Currency Show will be September 21-23, 2017, St. Charles, IL. There will be a Dealer Social Event, Thursday, September 21, which includes food and cocktails. Each member club is allowed three representatives to attend, meet, and interact with ILNA officers and dealers. Some Board members could not commit, but Elliott Krieter and Carl Wolf can attend.
Jeff Rosinia announced that there were no Young Numismatist Exhibits at the ANA Denver Convention. He encouraged members to enlist YNs for the Chicago 2019 ANA Convention. He also believed that groups and classrooms could build an exhibit and enter it in a non-competitive category.
Jeff Rosinia also agreed to help the Central States Numismatic Society find another certified Boy Scouts of America Coin Collecting Merit Badge instructor.
The next Board meeting will be held November 15, 2017 at Connie’s Pizza.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:24 PM.
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary
|Date:||September 13, 2017|
At the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court, 3rd floor meeting room. Please remember the security measures at our meeting building: everyone must show their photo-ID and register at the guard’s desk.
|Featured Program:||Melissa Gumm
— Love Tokens – Works of Art or Mutilation of Circulating Currency?
Since the beginning of time, people have looked for ways to show the world affection for those they love. One such way, going back to the 16th Century, was through the designing, creation,giving, and accumulation of Love Tokens. These gifts hold a key to the past; every coin has a history and tells a story. Attend this meeting to learn the history of love tokens, how they evolved from crude to beautiful, how they are distinguished by collectors, and where they stand today in the numismatic collecting realm.
Unless stated otherwise, our regular monthly CCC Meeting is in downtown Chicago on the second Wednesday of the month; the starting time is 6:45PM.
|September||13||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Melissa Gumm on Love Tokens|
|September||21-23||ILNA 58th Annual Coin & Currency Show at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 East Main Street, St. Charles, IL. Details, including hours and events, is available at http://www.ilnaclub.org|
|September||24||Central States Numismatic Society numismatic seminar, after the ILNA Convention —
also to be held at Pheasant Run Resort.
8:00AM to 4:00PM.
A continental breakfast and deli-style lunch are included in the registration charge ($20 for CSNS members, $30 for all others). Registration deadline is September 20, 2017. A check, payable to “CSNS” for registration, should be sent to:
2075 East Bocock Road
Marion, IN 46952
The speakers and topics are:
|October||11||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Brett Irick on Building a Mexican Type Set Collection|
|November||8||CCC Meeting - Club Auction - no featured speaker|
|December||13||CCC Meeting - Annual Banquet - Featured Speaker - Stanley Campbell on Cuban Numismatics|
All correspondence pertaining to Club matters
should be addressed to the Secretary and mailed to:
CHICAGO COIN CLUB
P.O. Box 2301
CHICAGO, IL 60690
|Elected positions (two-year terms):|
|Richard Lipman||- President|
|Marc Stackler||- First Vice President|
|John Riley||- Second Vice President|
|William Burd||- Archivist|
|Elliott Krieter||- Immediate Past President|
|Carl Wolf||- Secretary|
|Steve Zitowsky||- Treasurer|
|Paul Hybert||- Chatter Editor, webmaster|
|Jeffrey Rosinia||- ANA Club Representative|
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